- Affordable 4G tablet
- Great battery life
- Clean user experience
- Terrible cameras
- Bland design
- Poor screen
Vodafone Tab prime 6 review: we’ve been wowed by Vodafone’s latest affordable flagship smartphones, but can the mighty Voda produce a killer cut-price Android tablet too?
Design: Bland but comfortable
If you’re after aluminium bodywork, a paper-thin profile and subtle detailing the budget market isn’t your scene.
As with its affordable brethren, the Tab prime 6 is a dark metallic grey slab of plastic that’s pretty slim (for a budget device) at 9.7mm and only carries a modest amount of heft at 406 grams.
Vodafone’s kept the design simple with a microSD and SIM tray slot under a single flap on the back, hardware controls for power and volume, a headphone jack and as with its predecessor, an IR port for controlling your TV.
The smooth finish of the body isn’t ideal when it comes to grip, but the pillowed back and rounded corners give it a friendly, approachable appearance and ensure it’s comfortable to hold on pretty much any orientation – those with large enough hands can even grip both sides of the Tab one-handed in a portrait orientation.
Screen: Greyed out
For a tablet with a large 9.6-inch IPS display, a resolution of 1280×800 isn’t going to cut the mustard for a lot of people, especially if their main reason for buying a tablet is entertainment.
Whilst viewing angles aren’t the worst, poor contrast and weak colour reproduction leave imagery looking tired and washed out. Fast motion doesn’t translate well either, making certain games and movies appear blurred or lacking in detail.
OS: Clean and clear
Each iteration of Vodafone’s user experience feels more and more like vanilla Android. By default you’ll find a folder labelled ‘Vodafone’ on your main home screen containing apps for discovering and updating Vodafone-specific experiences, and akin to Samsung devices a swipe to the right will pull up a Flipboard reader baked right into the UI, but deviations from the path are few here.
Beyond these small changes, everything from the apps drawer to the notifications panel and settings menu look, feel and behave like stock Android Jelly Bean, which is great. The new setup process is more refined and makes it easier to transfer content over from older devices, even if the Tab prime 6 lacks NFC.
Another useful feature Vodafone has sneaked in is double-tap-to-wake and similarly to Android Wear you can lock the prime 6 simply by placing your entire palm on the home screen. Smart.
Performance: Better than expected
As with yout average mid-range smartphone, the Tab prime 6 sports a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 and 1GB of RAM. It’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and you will encounter lag and slow-down from time to time, whether it’s from using intensive apps or running multiple applications at once.
Despite the notably conservative hardware however, games actually look pretty good and the 3D titles we tested ran smoothly enough to ensure your immersion isn’t broken, at least not by the fluidity of the gameplay.
Storage can be bolstered by an additional 32GB through the aforementioned microSD slot and the 4600mAh battery should see you through up to four days of use between charges. As the feather in Tab prime 6’s cap is 4G connectivity, the battery will drain faster if you plan on surfing the web whilst you’re out and about, so bear that in mind.
Camera: Just don’t
The Tab prime 6 packs a 2-megapixel front-facer and a larger 5-megapixel snapper on the back. As ever we’d try and dissuade you from using the cameras on a tablet when possible, but the offerings here are bad enough on their own. Both suffer from poor quality, particularly in low light, as well as a narrow field of view.
The camera app includes some nice features like HDR and manual control, but they make little difference to the end results. As ever use the cameras for video calling or leave taking photos to your phone, your compact camera or your DSLR.
Verdict: Good enough for some
Aside from a refreshed take on Android and a tad more internal storage the Vodafone Tab prime 6 is essentially just a larger version of last year’s Smart Tab 4G.
Whilst the specs are on the whole lacking, you do get a reasonably good user experience and feature set, particularly if you’re in the market for an affordable 4G slate.
Naturally this is a carrier-locked device, but if you’re on hunt for a low-cost iPad alternative the Tab Prime 6 won’t steer you wrong, especially when it can be had with a data plan for as little as £17 a month.
|OS||Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Processor||1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410|
|Storage||16GB. Expandable via microSD up to 32GB|
|Bonus features||IR blaster, touch-to-wake, palm-to-sleep|